Math 323: Fall 2005

Day 6: More OB Problem Texts

Summary

Presentation and discussion of selected problems and the relation of those problems to the rest of OB math.
Discussion of type/role of problem texts in OB mathematics.
In almost all cases, an Old Babylonian problem requires finding a numerical solution.  The procedure texts describe the steps used in the solution algorithms. There are some important historical questions to do with how we interpret these instructions.

We will find it helpful to have a link to the OB metrology page.

Handouts

          BM 13901
          Old Babylonian Problems

Additional Reading

J. Hoyrup, 'Changing trends in the historiography of Mesopotamian mathematics: An insider's view', History of Science 34 (1996) 1-32. SCI Periodicals Q125 .H63.

Homework

Write up assigned homework problems from the handous.
Explain what each problem is and the steps of the procedure.  Pay particular attention to metrology and use of mathematical constants.  
Explain the techniques used and how they relate to those used in other problems.
On to Day 7.


Up to Ancient and Classical Mathematics


Last modified: 12 September 2005
Duncan J. Melville

Comments to dmelville@stlawu.edu